“M*A*S*H” fans know Judy Farrell as Nurse Able from the classic series. While she only appeared in eight episodes over the second half of the show’s run, she left us with some memorable moments. Today, Judy turned 83-years old. In honor of her birthday, let’s take a look back at her career.
Hailing from Quapaw, Oklahoma, Judy Farrell studied theater, and she graduated from Oklahoma State University with a fine arts degree. Then, she moved on to pursue a graduate degree from UCLA. There she met her first husband and fellow “M*A*S*H” actor, Mike Farrell. Mike played Captain B.J. Hunnicut on the show from 1975 until the show’s conclusion in 1983.
In the 1960s, Judy worked as a drama teacher in Laguna Beach, California. Throughout that period, Judy and Mike both acted together in productions at the Laguna Playhouse.
Judy appeared on shows like “Get Smart” and “The Partridge Family” in the early 1970s. By the time she appeared on “M*A*S*H” in 1976, she had a handful of small guest parts under her belt. It was these types of roles that characterized much of her acting career. Over the years, she played roles on more than a dozen different television shows.
Later on in her career, Judy transitioned to writing. She was credited with writing over 130 episodes of the “General Hospital” spin-off, “Port Charles.”
Judy Farrell’s Time on ‘M*A*S*H’
Judy Farrell’s first husband, Mike, was a series regular on “M*A*S*H” who appeared in 179 episodes. But funnily enough, it was Judy who got Mike involved with acting in the first place. According to his biography, “Just Call Me Mike,” Mike landed his role on “M*A*S*H” after turning in a nervous audition. He was brought in to help fill the absence left behind after Wayne Rogers left the show.
Over the course of Mike’s time on the show, the cast got to know Judy, and they loved her. As a result, and because of her own acting chops, she earned a guest part playing Nurse Able.
Judy Farrell’s first appearance on “M*A*S*H” came in 1976. It was an episode titled “Out of Sight, Out of Mind.” In it, the nurses, Judy Farrell’s Nurse Able included, had trouble with their furnace. When Hawkeye tried to fix it, he temporarily blinded himself.
In another episode, Judy Farrell actually shares a scene with her real-life husband. Watch below as Nurse Able converses with Capt. Hunnicut.